One of the essential keys to life is being prepared for the unexpected. Surprises lurk around every corner. What follows may come as a surprise to many.
In a Forbes article titled, “The World Is Entering A ‘Localism’ Era”, author Patrick W. Watson writes about the growing backlash to globalism. To emphasize his points, Watson quotes comments made by the then newly elected President, Donald Trump, in late 2016.
At the time, Trump told an audience in Hershey, PA, “the relationships people value most” are those that are “local, folks, local”.
It may come as surprise to learn Donald Trump, a person not necessarily known for sensitivity, would express this sort of sentimentality for relationships. Yet, it is recognition at this level that points to the gravity of the shifts taking place around us.
Globalization, which was justified by Friedman’s shareholder value theory, has caused more damage to the relationships we have with earth systems, and with each other, than any other movement in human history. The idea that businesses exists simply to “maximize shareholder value” has led to the mistaken belief that the only things worth doing are worth doing for money. The neo-liberal philosophy that begets globalization has affected just about everything we do. Fortunately, we are beginning to wake-up and recognize the pernicious nature of neo-liberalism and the system it has spawned.
Localism, or the movement to local influence and control, is the antithesis to globalism. It’s a nascent movement that’s taking shape in communities throughout the western world. How will it manifest itself in our community?
The answer to this question will not come from multinationals, or large corporations and their handmaids, whose interests remain tethered to a globalized economy. The answers will come from us: those who live in community and come together, face to face, and wrestle with the challenges of building businesses predicated on local resources, local labor, and most importantly, the value of relationship over the transactional – relationship with earth and all of its creatures.
The good news is that we have access to talent, skills and knowledge – the knowledge to make the necessary changes – right at our finger tips. The challenge lies in recognizing the need to come together and work on advancing localism together.
All too often, we find ourselves creating yet one more non-profit to go-up against the bigness caused by globalization. Forming more non-profits or movements is not the answer. We need to come together in thoughtful dialogue and collaboration; we need to manifest the meaning of the word community, and within it, cooperation. We lose energy when we go after things in piecemeal fashion.
The journey to a local, resilient, sustainable triple bottom line economy will not be easy. It will be a long journey, but it’s one crying-out to be taken-up. As shocking as it may be, an overwhelming majority of us, regardless of what side of the political spectrum we may find ourselves, know that things are in dire need of change. Localism is part of the much needed change, and it’s a movement whose time has come.